Signs of resistance? Swedish probation officers’ attitudes towards risk assessments

  • Anders Persson (Swedish Prison and Probation Service)
  • Kerstin Svensson (Head of Department. Lund University, School of Social Work, Box 23, SE 221 00 LUND, SWEDEN. Email:

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service has been influenced by the „What Works‟ agenda since the late 1990‟s and an orientation towards risk and risk management has gradually become visible in the organization. But there is, within the probation service, a discrepancy between two types of logics – an organizational logic and a professional logic. Although guidelines prescribe the use of risk-assessment tools, they are in reality seldom used by practitioners. Through an examination of the reasons given by the probation officers who expressed doubts or concerns about the risk-concept, we question whether this could be seen as signs of resistance based on professional logic.

Keywords: Probation officers, Professionalism, Pre-sentence reports, Risk assessment

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